THE COST

God finished woman in the twilight hour
And said, 'To-morrow thou shalt find thy place:
Man's complement, the mother of the race--
    With love the motive power--
    The once compelling power.'

All night she dreamed and wondered. With the light
Her lover came--and then she understood
The purpose of her being. Life was good
    And all the world seemed right--
    And nothing was, but right.

She had no wish for any wider sway:
By all the questions of the world unvexed,
Supremely loving and superbly sexed,
    She passed upon her way--
    Her feminine fair way.

But God neglected, when He fashioned man,
To fuse the molten splendour of his mind
With that sixth sense He gave to womankind.
    And so He marred His plan--
    Ay, marred His own great plan.

She asked so little, and so much she gave,
That man grew selfish: and she soon became,
To God's great sorrow and the whole world's shame,
    Man's sweet and patient slave--
    His uncomplaining slave.

Yet in the nights (oh! nights so dark and long)
She clasped her little children to her breast
And wept. And in her anguish of unrest
    She thought upon her wrong;
    She knew how great her wrong.

And one sad hour, she said unto her heart,
'Since thou art cause of all my bitter pain,
I bid thee abdicate the throne: let brain
    Rule now, and do his part--
    His masterful, strong part.'

She wept no more. By new ambition stirred
Her ways led out, to regions strange and vast.
Men stood aside and watched, dismayed, aghast,
    And all the world demurred--
    Misjudged her, and demurred.

Still on and up, from sphere to widening sphere,
Till thorny paths bloomed with the rose of fame.
Who once demurred, now followed with acclaim:
    The hiss died in the cheer--
    The loud applauding cheer.

She stood triumphant in that radiant hour,
Man's mental equal, and competitor.
But ah! the cost! from out the heart of her
    Had gone love's motive power--
    Love's all-compelling power.

Poems of Progress and New Thought Pastels by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1911.


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